Spectacle Fatigue

Wherever we are, it sure looks expensiveAfter the relative quiet of the last five or six weeks, there’s a veritable flood of movies pouring onto screens today. Let’s get right to it, shall we?

Hellboy II: The Golden Army“: You know how all us critics have spent the last few years praising Guillermo del Toro’s unique vision and magical storytelling abilities? Yeah, well, it turns out that might have led him to get a little carried away this time. The character moments are as rich as they were in the first film … it’s just that there are a lot fewer of them in this one.

“Journey to the Center of the Earth 3D”: After several years of false starts, someone finds a way to use Digital 3D properly — as a device through which we can enjoy watching Brendan Fraser being smacked in the face by a series of cheesy digital effects. Which, as it turns out, makes for a surprisingly pleasant diversion. Andrew agrees; it won’t be nearly as entertaining in 2D.

“Silent Light”: I can’t say I’ve enjoyed Carlos Reygadas’ work in the past — I get what he’s going for, but “Battle in Heaven” made my skin crawl — but he hits on something lovely in this strange, almost ethereal tale of a Mexican Mennonite community. Susan has seen right through it, though.

The Wackness“: There’s a lot that really works about Jonathan Levine’s coming-of-age film, set in 1994 during a sticky New York summer — particularly Josh Peck and Olivia Thirlby. But then there’s Ben Kingsley, who has decided to deliver another of his patented stylized performances, and he’s so annoying that he almost physically disconnected me from the story every time he walks into the frame.

Also opening: “Alice’s House”, “The Fourth Life” and “Meet Dave”. Haven’t seen ’em. Can’t really say I want to.

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